Patent strategy: open vs closed

Minesoft Business Development Executive, Moira Sivills, recently featured in World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) magazine. Sivills investigated whether an open or closed patent strategy is the best way forward to promote innovation and technological development. The article uses case studies to explore the importance of intellectual property (IP) strategy in strengthening firms and creating business value.

The new paradigm of open and collaborative innovation challenges the traditional practices of IP ownership and is gaining popularity in many corporations. Knowledge-sharing without the monopolistic barriers enables external sources of innovation and external commercialisation strategies, leading to accelerated innovation cycles. A prime example of this is Tesla – electric car manufacturer. By removing their patent barrier and welcoming competitors, Tesla increased the size of the electric car market. As a result, Tesla increased their own total market share and aided the sustainability transition.

However, cases like Plumpy’Nut, an easy-to-administer outpatient treatment, provide rationale for using a closed patent strategy. This simple, unique innovation fights the pressing societal challenge of hunger and is protected through patents. IP ownership is particularly important for small innovative firms in the early stages, especially in developing regions where they are more vulnerable to exploitation.

Overall, there are several factors to consider when opting for an open or closed patent strategy: the complexity of the invention, amount of competition, size of industry and investor motivations. The priority for decision-makers now is to discover the optimum strategy to maximise IP value and build a sustainable future.

Regardless of the chosen patent strategy approach, Minesoft offers a variety of products to help. In this era of knowledge economies, Minesoft’s effective knowledge management system Pat-KM, provides access to global patent data with integrated workflow for monitoring, classification and dissemination of relevant patent records. This helps mitigate challenges, such as infringement proceedings, wasted R&D expenditure in overcrowded research fields and competitors taking advantage of your own technological innovations. Protecting, monitoring and investing in your company’s intellectual property is beneficial to companies of all sizes. A well-informed IP team can help decision makers adjust their patent strategy to strengthen business and IP value.

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